Monday, July 20, 2009

ethiopian adventure

"Well, what do you want to eat?" I asked.

"Ethiopian food," he replied, "Can't get that in Gainesville."

There's a few options for Ethiopian food in the area. Never having eaten it myself, I had to do some research. U Street seemed to have the largest enclave of Ethiopian restaurants and shops. Several sites actually called it Little Ethiopia. How many cities have one of those, outside of Addis Ababa anyhow?

Sorting through the recommendations, I decided on Etete (1942 9th Street NW). It won several Washingtonian magazine awards, the reviews were plentiful and (mostly) good. We got off at the U Street/Cardozo/African American War Memorial Metro stop. (Sidenote: Quite possibly the longest Metro station stop in the system!) People watching all the while, we followed a foursome of out-of-their-element girls into Etete. Go figure.

Candler and I ordered honey wine and sambusas before the main food came out. The honey wine tasted a bit like a dessert wine with a hops bite. Not bad, but not great. The sambusas were delicious. Lentils and meat and jalapenos and other veggies. Flaky crust on the outside. An African empanada, more or less.

For the main course, we opted for a veggie sampler, kifta, and a lamb stew. All of the veggie mounds were delicious. Kifta is a spicy blend of ground meat that is often served raw. We opted for medium, but it came out looking like browned ground round. It was infinitely tastier though. The lamb stew was rich with a slight vinegary bite to it. All of the dishes came out on a giant platter with a basket of rolled up injera. Injera is to Ethiopian food what chopsticks are to the Far East. I liken it to a chewier pancake. We used it like pita to pick up bite-sized morsels of the entrees.

All told, we couldn't eat all the food we ordered. Too much deliciousness. Knowing we were headed to Gibson's afterwards, we boxed it up anyways. Not five steps out of the restaurant, a homeless man in a wheelchair asked for some spare change. I offered the leftovers instead, and he graciously accepted.

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